Batavian Republic

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The Batavian Republic (Dutch: Bataafse Republiek; French: République Batave) was the name given to the region formerly known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, when - with the intervention of French revolutionary forces - the old Republic fell to be replaced by a popular revolutionary government. The then ruler of the Netherlands, Prince William of Orange, had to flee to England, where he asked the British to prevent France taking possession of the Dutch colonies. Britain obliged by occupying such colonies, taking the Cape colony in South Africa with the Battle of Muizenberg in 1795.

Proclaimed on 19 January 1795, Batavian Republic lasted only 11 years, coming to an end on 5 June 1806, with the accession of Louis I to the throne of Holland.

In terms of the Treaty of Amiens signed in 1802 (between England and France), the British returned the Cape Colony to the Netherlands in February 1803. The period of renewed Dutch rule is usually referred to as the Batavian period (Bataafse tydperk in Dutch and Afrikaans). This government lasted for three years only, but the enlightened administration of the Cape by Commissioner-General J.A. de Mist and Lieutenant-General J.W. Janssens, the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, was a great improvement upon the rule of the Dutch East India Company (1652 to 1795), sponsoring development and reforms.

The Cape was once more taken by British forces during the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, and British colonial rule confirmed by the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.

During this brief time French Theatre flourished and Cape Town became known as "Little Paris".


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]

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